Friday, October 02, 2009

Matthew Weinstein: Coping in the Virtual World

["The Kiss" (2009), hand-painted and cast resin attached to a Corian base. "Tiny Bubbles" (2008), acrylic on canvas. "The Kiss" (2009), acrylic on canvas.]

Whole new worlds have come to life in Matthew Weinstein’s accomplished new works, which are being exhibited concurrently at Sonnabend Gallery and the Carolina Nitsch Project Room through October 17th. Encompassing paintings, sculpture, and computer animation, Weinstein’s work explores American culture’s escapist preoccupations as he hems and haws between abstraction and figurative narration.

Based on images from the animations, Weinstein’s paintings conjure an invented world: They speak volumes about distances drawn between reality and reality’s "substitutes," both on "Prime Time" and in everyday routine. The artist asks how far we can veer from what is "real" before disconnecting with actions, ideas, and events in our genuine working/living milieu.

Streaming pleasure, pain, and morbidity—adroitly related by the artist—have severed ties to reality within our mass culture so desperate for "sedation." In Weinstein’s quest to examine artistic subjectivity in the glare of this technology, computer generated wireframes, rapid prototyping technology, and animation have become putty in his hands. He has also done this in diverse collaborations with the likes of composer and DJ Adultnapper, the band Balkan Beat Box, actor Blair Brown, and the late Natasha Richardson.

We find two Siamese fighting fish in an off-beat reenactment of "Brokeback Mountain" in Weinstein’s animation "Siam"—complete with a cabaret of dancing skeletons and singing koi. Meanwhile, a mechanical fish dangles by a gold chain in the artist’s animation "Chariots of the Gods." The fish in the latter opines on the future, technology, devolution, aliens, and despondency toward societal progress.

Vagaries of American mass culture—in all its surreal, if not distressing, whimsy—come to the fore in Weinstein’s sculpture, "The Kiss." Based on the two Siamese fighting fish that star in "Siam," this vehicle finds a confluence of the aforementioned creatures and martini glasses within a Lucite wave.

Weinstein’s convergent influences and media notwithstanding, his work is notable for its merger of reality and fantasy in a "hyperclarity"—providing a home for his digital reperatory company in a virtual world where the untellable is told.

Weinstein has also shown at Baldwin Gallery (Aspen), Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich), Kunsthalle Vienna, and the Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus.) He is a recipient of many awards, including a grant from the Wexner Center for the Arts.

New Video, Paintings, and Sculpture
By Matthew Weinstein
Through October 17, 2009
@ Sonnabend Gallery
536 West 22nd Street, NYC 10011


@ Carolina Nitsch Project Room
534 West 22nd Street, NYC 10011

"Ikebana," Weinstein’s 2006 collaboration with noted writer Michael Cunningham is an amazing artifact: This 60 page hardcover (19 full-color plates) with a story by Michael Cunningham and an essay by Weinstein can be obtained at:

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